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Hong-Hong Tinn
Assistant Professor of History

My research and teaching interest include the history of digital electronic computing, Cold War international technical-aid programs, science and society, the relationship between computing and econometrics, and the history of science, technology, and medicine in East Asia.

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 25

E-mail
tinnho@earlham.edu

Office
319 Landrum Bolling Center

Programs/Departments

  • History

Degrees

  • Ph.D., Cornell University
  • M.A., National Taiwan University
  • B.A., National Taiwan University

Selected Courses:

Fall 2015

HIST 282  Computers: From Ada Lovelace to the Internet

HIST/JPNS 382  History of Science, Technology and Medicine in East Asia

Spring 2016

HIST 410  Philosophy of History

Fall 2016

HIST 472  Modern China

ESEM 150  Silk, Ceramics, and Trains: History of Science and Technology in East Asia

My research and teaching interest include the history of digital electronic computing, Cold War international technical-aid programs, science and society, the relationship between computing and econometrics, and the history of science, technology, and medicine in East Asia.

My book manuscript examines how digital electronic computers made it way from the United States to Taiwan through international technical aid programs. Specifically, my book manuscript, provisionally titled “From Suspicious Cargo to the Humming Machine: Tinkering with Computers in Cold War Taiwan, 1959-1971,” will explore Taiwanese technocrats, scientists, and engineers’ embrace of foreign technical assistance, as well as their struggles over whether and how to become independent from such international assistance. Their struggles were two folded. At one level, Taiwanese technocrats negotiated with technical-aid agencies over what counted as appropriate technical-aid to Taiwan. At another level, Taiwanese scientists and engineers grappled with the newly available but black-boxed computers. Therefore, they experimented and tinkered with mainframe computers and minicomputers to gain a better understanding of these machines in order to further manufacture and fabricate computers. 

I held postdoctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany and at the National University of Singapore. My recent research project looks at the history of economist Wassily Leontief’s inter-industry input-output analysis and its global circulation. I currently serve as the convener of the book review board for East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal (Duke University Press), and chaired the Internationalization Committee of the Society for the History of Technology from 2013 to 2014.

Articles

“From DIY Computers to Illegal Copies: The Controversy Over Tinkering with Microcomputers in Taiwan, 1980-1984,” for a special issue entitled “New Voices, New Topics,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 33, no. 2 (2011): 75-88

“Cold War Politics: Taiwanese Computing in the 1950s and 1960s,” Think Piece column, IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 32, no. 1 (2010): 92-95

Selected Invited Presentations

“The Discourse of Brain Drain and Sciences in Post-independence Singapore,” Presented at the Workshop on Appreciating Innovation Across Countries, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, November 5-6, 2015

Discussant for the panel titled “The Power of the Print,” the Annual Meeting of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Albuquerque, New Mexico, Oct. 8-11, 2015

“Mainframe Computers and Economic-planning Projects in Taiwan, 1962-1968,” presented at the workshop of the Effectiveness of Mathematization, organized by Ann Johnson and Johannes Lenhard at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung), Bielefeld University, Germany, Aug. 9-11, 2012

“Methodological Challenges: Archival study—Historical Sources on Mainframe Computers and US aid in Taiwan,” presented at the Workshop of Practices of Science and Technology Studies: Reflexive Takes on Cross-Context Collaboration, organized by the Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Japan, Aug. 24-25, 2010

Selected Conference Papers and Presentations

“Materialities Roundtable,” Institute’s Colloquium, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany, Jun. 16, 2015

“To Raise Pigs or Not: Negotiating over Agricultural Labor, Expertise, and Technology in Singapore’s Industrialization,” the Annual Meeting of SHOT, Dearborn, Michigan, Nov. 6-9, 2014

“Negotiating Competing Sociotechnical Imaginaries between Taiwanese Technologists and United Nations Officials: A Cold War Technical-aid Program in Electronics Science and Digital Electronic Computing, 1958–64,” presented at the Annual Meeting of SHOT, Copenhagen, Denmark, Oct. 4-7, 2012

“Mainframe Computers and Economic-planning Projects in Taiwan, 1962-1968: Electronic Computing, Econometric Models, and Development Discourse,” presented at the Annual Meeting of SHOT, Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 3-6, 2011

“Building a Technological System of Mainframe Computers in Taiwan, 1962-1966: National Chiao-Tung University, the Taiwan Power Company, and Electronic Computing Centers in Taiwan,” presented at the Annual Meeting of 4S, Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 25-29, 2010

Selected Organized Panels

“Promises and Challenges of Doing International History of Technology, President’s Roundtable,” the Annual Meeting of SHOT, Dearborn, Michigan, Nov. 6-9, 2014 (Co-organized with the SHOT Internationalization Committee)

“Integrating SHOT SIG (Special Interest Group) Concerns into the Teaching of History of Technology: Rethinking Modes of Instruction in a Diverse Communities, President’s Roundtable,” the Annual Meeting of SHOT, Portland, Maine, Oct. 10-13, 2013 (Co-organized with Francesca Bray)

“Professional Development: 6S Student Activity,” the Annual Meeting of the Society of the Social Studies of Science (4S), Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 25-29, 2010

Society for the History of Technology

American Historical Association

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